Connect with us

Cannabis Now

Cannabis Now

How CBD Oil Can Result in a Failed Drug Test

Fresh Cannabis Plant
PHOTO Marco Verch


How CBD Oil Can Result in a Failed Drug Test

Hemp may be legal, but you could still get fired for using CBD.

When most people think about getting drug tested for a job, they tend to think the test is looking for drugs like cocaine or cannabis. They might assume that hemp-derived CBD oil purchased over the counter from a convenience store won’t cause any problems, given it’s not supposed to contain any THC. But is it safe for someone to use CBD-rich products derived from hemp (with 0.3% THC or less) before a drug test? In reality, it’s risky, though the reasons why are complicated.

In order to understand the conundrum, it’s important to understand what the drug tests are looking for. Tests look for the analytes of drugs, rather that the presence of the drug itself. So, instead of testing for “cannabis” (which contains over 100 cannabinoids), tests look for just two of the cannabinoids: THCA and THC.

Tests aren’t looking for CBD, but given that there is currently no FDA regulation on CBD products (except the seizure drug Epidiolex), there’s no certainty that hemp-derived CBD oil is actually THC free. And over the past few months, reports have surfaced that people in multiple states have been fired or not hired due to testing positive for THC after using CBD-rich hemp products.

Guy DuBeau, a Wisconsin-based attorney who has written legal advice for people whose CBD usage resulted in a failed drug test, said that a big reason these failures happen is because hemp-derived CBD products are not regulated.

“You are getting companies importing stuff that is supposed to test as hemp, but it actually tests at three to four times the amount of THC it should have,” DuBeau said.

Annie Rouse, co-founder of the online CBD shop Anavii Market and a member of the Hemp Industries Association’s board of directors, agrees that regulation is the way to go.

“This is something we need to figure out on the federal level so people can actively take CBD,” Rouse said, adding that she has been “in conversations with Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office,” specifically about the issue of raising the testing limit for THCA on Department of Transportation drug tests.

PHOTO Canna Obscura

Currently, the Department of Transportation mandates a very low testing limit of 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. Rouse has proposed to McConnell’s office that the department raise its testing limit to mirror the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who does the drug testing for Olympic athletes. In 2013, WADA increased its testing limit to 150 ng/mL of THC.

“I am a small person and I take 100 milligrams of CBD a day,” Rouse said. In that dose of CBD, there’s a small enough amount of THC where Rouse said she “would fail a drug test by the [Department of Transportation], even though I am not actually taking THC and not being intoxicated by it.”

An individual’s body type and metabolism matter, too. “If you have more muscle and less fat, cannabinoids will not stay in your body as long,” said Rouse.

None of the experts Cannabis Now spoke to could say if the method of consumption of hemp-derived CBD, including edibles, topicals, tinctures and vapes, would affect test results,

Ultimately, the experts recommended that if you are using high doses of CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC, you should discontinue use at least a week before you anticipate a drug test to minimize the risk of a false positive. Rouse suggests that if you get one, request “a confirmatory test,” which does a better job of distinguishing between different cannabinoids, but also has a lower limit of 15 ng/mL.

Given the prevalence of this issue, Rouse’s home state of Kentucky is currently considering a bill, which, if passed, would give CBD users in that state protections in hiring and firing. However, as Rouse said, the drug-testing reform and CBD regulations would have to be enacted at the federal level, not just in the states, before people can consume hemp-derived CBD worry-free.

TELL US, has CBD ever given you a false positive on a drug test?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE



  1. Marc Charbonneau

    December 14, 2019 at 6:27 am

    I got fired from 30 years of trucking for using CBD oil from Solaray that I got at The Vitamin Shoppe. It is the only possibility since I don’t drink or use drugs. My research points to bad testing especially of the second sample. Labs are cheap and won’t do the high performance liquid chromatography test even if person being tested demands it in writing. This test would have exonerated me!

  2. Kasey Shaver

    October 23, 2019 at 7:21 am

    No one has ever tested positive for THC with our water soluble, whole flower, CBD fluid. My daughter weighs 90 pounds and had consumed our CBD fluid for over two months 3 to 2 times a day, and even took a dose 10 minutes before testing. She tested negative for THC. Because it is a water soluble whole flower CBD fluid and not an oil, it doesn’t get stored in the fat cells, which is probably why people who take CBD oil to have a positive test for THC.

    • Maxcatski

      October 26, 2019 at 8:17 am

      Why is your daughter even being tested for THC?

  3. Marla Honeycutt-Daigle

    October 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I tested positive today for THC. I take CBD with .3% THC. It was only a “urine dip test” but have requested a hair Follicle test as well. I’m merely trying to find put if I would test positive or not, these tests are my experiment. Should know the hair Follicle test results Wednesday.

  4. Jeri K Darling

    October 16, 2019 at 6:36 am

    My brother did. He uses my companies CBD which have 3rd party labs to prove it is under the legal limit. I also had a friend test positive using CBD. Other people who have been tested have tested negative using my CBD.

  5. Ashley Ellmaker

    October 15, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    I don’t know of anyone selling our CBD or CBG oil testing positive for THC. Our bottles have a QR code that we can scan showing levels of THC in each batch, and every batch is well below the federal limits. Ours is water soluble, and only need 33 mg per day at the most. We are also US Hemp Authority certified.

  6. kelly

    October 15, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Yes, CBD has given me a positive result. I have been on it for months and I also own a Medical Marijuana Dr. office. We also sell our CBD products that have 0.03% THC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in CBD

To Top